London and Kent authorities appoint joint legal panel

A consortium of boroughs in London and Kent have appointed 26 firms to a new joint panel.

Around 80 firms competed to advise on a broad spectrum of areas including commercial, employment, environment, litigation, property and regulation.

Successful appointees include Dickinson Dees, DLA Piper, Pinsent Masons, Trowers & Hamlins and Wragge & Co, as well as local authorities that engage in external trading such as Kent County Council and Essex Legal Services.

The procurement process was led by Bromley County Council’s director of legal, democratic and customer services Mark Bowen. He said: “We’ve got a larger panel than perhaps is normal, but it covers every aspect of local government legal work. Some areas there are 20 firms, others it’s just a single firm.”

Ian Ward, client partner at Dickinson Dees, said he was pleased with the win, despite the possibility that his firm might earn less than it would have done under a different economic climate. He said: “Public budgets are under pressure but if you’re not on the panel there’s no chance of getting the work. We should be able to do more for less.”

Bowen added: “The founder members were eight outer London local authorities with similar size legal departments, similar external spend and similar pressures, that were all looking towards more formalised arrangements.”

The panel is composed of eight outer London boroughs, alongside the City of London and five district councils across Kent. While their collective legal spend has reduced in the light of public spending pressure, it is understood that they have a total legal spend in the region of several hundred thousand pounds.